Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Aging eyes linked to sleepless nights, new study shows

Date:
September 6, 2011
Source:
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Summary:
A natural yellowing of the eye lens that absorbs blue light has been linked to sleep disorders in a group of test volunteers. The connection could help explain why sleep disorders become more frequent with increasing age.

A natural yellowing of the eye lens that absorbs blue light has been linked to sleep disorders in a group of test volunteers, according to a study in the September 1 issue of the journal Sleep. As this type of lens discoloration worsened with age, so did the risk of insomnia.

"The strong link between lens yellowing and age could help explain why sleep disorders become more frequent with increasing age," said Line Kessel, M.D., Ph.D., the study's lead author.

In the Danish study, 970 volunteers had their eyes examined by lens autofluorometry, a non-invasive method for determining how much blue light is transmitted into the retina. Blue light is a portion of the visible-light spectrum that influences the normal sleep cycle by helping initiate the release of melatonin in the brain. Melatonin is a hormone that helps signal to the body when it is time to be sleepy or alert.

Volunteers were considered to have a sleep disorder if they confirmed that they "often suffer from insomnia" or if they purchased prescription sleeping pills within the last 12 months. Of those classified as having a sleep disturbance, 82.8 percent affirmed that they both suffered from insomnia and used sleep medication.

Using this data, researchers calculated an inverse relationship between blue light transmission and the risk of having sleep disturbances: the lower the blue light transmission into the retina due to a yellowing of the eye lens, the greater the risk of sleep disturbances.

"The results showed that while age-related lens yellowing is of relatively little importance for visual function, it may be responsible for insomnia in the elderly," said Kessel, a senior scientist in the Department of Opthalmology at Glostrup Hospital in Denmark.

Significantly higher rates of sleep disorders were reported by older participants, women, smokers and those with diabetes mellitus. Previous studies have shown that the rate of lens aging is accelerated in smokers, patients with diabetes mellitus and those at high risk for ischemic heart diseases. The Danish researchers addressed these factors in their statistical analyses.

"The association between blue light lens transmission and sleep disturbances remained significant even after we corrected for age, sex, diabetes mellitus, smoking and the risk of ischemic heart disease," Kessel said.

She said another important factor to consider is that sleep quality has been shown to improve after cataract surgery. "The transmission of blue light currently cannot be improved by any other method than cataract surgery. I΄m involved with another research project where we try non-invasively to remove the yellow color of the lens using a laser, but the method is not yet developed for clinical use," Kessel said.

In the meantime, Kessel said it seemed prudent to recommend that physicians reconsider the prescription of sleeping tablets in patients who have undergone cataract surgery.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kessel L; Siganos G; Jψrgensen T; Larsen M. Sleep disturbances are related to decreased transmission of blue light to the retina caused by lens yellowing. Sleep, 2011;34(9):1215-1219 [link]

Cite This Page:

American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Aging eyes linked to sleepless nights, new study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110901093646.htm>.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (2011, September 6). Aging eyes linked to sleepless nights, new study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110901093646.htm
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Aging eyes linked to sleepless nights, new study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110901093646.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) — As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) — Apple has delayed the launch of the HealthKit app platform, citing a bug. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) — Sixteen large food and beverage companies in the United States that committed to cut calories in their products far surpassed their target. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) — Haitians receive the second dose of the vaccine against cholera as part of the UN's vaccination campaign. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins